How to Upgrade Windows® CE Mobile Apps to Android™: A Step by Step Guide for Businesses

How to Upgrade Windows® CE Mobile Apps to Android™: A Step by Step Guide for Businesses

Migrating to next-generation platforms is essential, but it can also be a tricky process. In this guide, we outline our tried-and-tested approach for getting the job done on time and on budget – so you can deliver an upgrade that will help give your business an edge for years to come.

Learn how to transition your apps in our step-by-step guide – and find out how you can get started now.

Download the guide now

5 Reasons Why Migrating to Android Enterprise Devices Will Benefit Your Business

Graph in the palm of a hand showing increase in benefits due to using Android Enterprise Devices

If you’ve kept up to speed with business tech developments you’ll know that time is ticking for users of legacy mobile enterprise technology. Support is being withdrawn and you’ll be on your own in terms of managing outdated, underperforming and, increasingly, downright insecure devices.

This is never a good place to be when your business model relies on high-performing hardware and software to retain a competitive edge and keep customers coming back.

However, in this post we want to move the conversation on from what’s wrong with your existing devices. Instead, let’s look in detail at some of the solid benefits your business will enjoy by moving to high-performance Android Enterprise devices. We think you’ll agree that the case is compelling if you want to streamline your processes, keep up with growing demand, and beat the competition

1) Faster and more efficient business operations

It really can’t be overstated just how big an impact modern Android Enterprise devices could have on performance and morale. Think faster data capture, greater processing power, better Wi-Fi, longer battery life, quicker charging, slimmer devices and improved connectivity. Each employee will be doing what they do more quickly, without frustration. Multiply that by your number of employees and the benefits are huge.

Or, to look at things the other way around, imagine how badly outdated, bulky devices, with sluggish performance and poor battery management, could be affecting your team’s ability to do their jobs?

Benefits: Your workforce will be fulfilling tasks and orders more quickly, keeping more customers happy.

2) Protection from costly data breaches

According to security experts Ifsec Global, a security breach costs UK businesses on average over £6,000. With attacks increasing in frequency, this isn’t just something that happens to somebody else any more.

Padlock with text showing security risks faced by businesses that can be mitigated by using Android Enterprise devices
Android Enterprise devices reduce the risk of security breaches to your business.

The good news is that modern Android Enterprise devices use an up-to-date OS with multi-layer security to keep data and devices safe. Isolated processes and device encryption protect against data breaches, and Android’s own built-in malware protection stops harmful applications capturing your data. With the right Mobile Device Management solution, managers also have granular control over devices, which provides further security. You can prevent user access to Play Store, whitelist approved apps, control access to the internet and manage all devices via a centralised dashboard.

Making smart choices in terms of device procurement can add further protection too. For example, mobile manufacturer Zebra Technologies offers extended support – including security updates – after consumer Android support ends. This can help to extend the lifecycle of a device and make your investment more cost-effective.

Meanwhile, if you are still using legacy systems that don’t benefit from security updates, you might feel like a devastating attack is just around the corner. The harsh truth is that you may well be right.

Benefits: Your business will be protected against damaging – and often hugely costly – data breaches.

3) Fewer hours training employees

Never underestimate the significance of a user-friendly Android OS that most employees will be instantly familiar with. Use Android Enterprise devices and the efficient, familiar OS is going to help you fast track training, so employees spend fewer hours getting to grips with devices and more time using them to get on with the job more efficiently. (Some estimates suggest it can take two to four days to train workers on legacy devices and a matter of hours on Android devices.)

Head with colours and connections in background and clock over the top showing that familiar user interfaces mean Android Enterprise devices reduce worker training time
Android Enterprise devices are often familiar to workers, and so reduce time spent training.

From the user experience point of view, an Android OS will be a huge step up. Devices are built on modern design principles and benefit from vast research into user experience. They are easy to use and help employees perform tasks more quickly.

Benefits: Train employees in hours not days and keep your people working and earning.

4) A competitive advantage with new technologies and software

New technologies can revolutionise business processes, bringing efficiencies and savings. However, the age of your devices may be the factor that decides whether your business can capitalise on game-changing innovations. If your tech is outdated and incompatible, you will be left behind. On the other hand, if you upgrade to Android Enterprise devices you may be able to use: Bluetooth location beacons (small, wireless transmitters that use low-energy Bluetooth technology to send signals to other smart devices nearby); near-field communications (wireless data transfer that enables tech in close proximity to communicate without an internet connection – think Apple or Google Pay); and 4G/5G. This matters because you can be certain that your competitors will be leveraging tech that will give them a competitive advantage in terms of productivity, efficiency and customer experience. It is difficult to predict what disruptive, industry-revolutionising application or tech is around the corner, but using Android will ensure that you are ready for the change

Benefits: Use the latest tech to improve business efficiencies and be ready for the next industry-disrupting applications.

5) The right devices and applications for your workforce

In its report Rugged Handheld Devices Market 2020-2024, market research expert Technavio confirmed what many in the industry have known for a long time: more and more businesses are choosing Android-based rugged devices. In terms of range, research and development, new products, and also applications to support those products, there’s no competitor OS offering the same degree of choice and flexibility. Android rugged devices include smartphones, handhelds, tablets, wearables and vehicle-mounted computers. Instead of making do and hoping a product and its associated software will fit your own set up, with the breadth and depth of the Android range you are far more likely to find something that fits seamlessly with your set up. And that can only be good for your operations and your workforce. You’ll also get the stable support, parts availability and maintenance you can no longer rely on with Windows products, ensuring longevity for your investment.

Benefits: Increase efficiency with the right enterprise tech for the right job.

Nuffield Technologies helps businesses streamline their operations with business-grade enterprise technology. We can help you find the right tech to suit your business operations, unique challenges and budget. We’ll even negotiate on your behalf with technology providers to ensure deals that significantly beat market rates for products. Visit Nuffield Technologies or call 00 44 1202 665 885 to find out more.

The 11 Most Common Questions about Windows CE to Android Migration

Calendar and egg timer showing time is running out for Windows CE to Android Migrations

If migrating from Windows CE to Android is one of those jobs you’ve put off for another year, you are not alone. Many operations and IT managers realise that the end of support for Windows CE means there are compelling reasons why this migration needs to occur. But they also feel this job will be too big – and too disruptive to day-to-day operations.

We’ve helped many businesses make a seamless migration from Windows CE to Android. Along the way, we’ve compiled the most common questions people ask about the process. Our answers will reveal it isn’t nearly as difficult as you might think – and the benefits in terms of increased productivity and return on investment will encourage you to put this vital task to the top of your to-do list.

1. Can I keep using Windows CE?

All ‘mainstream support’ for Microsoft Windows CE 5.0, Windows Embedded CE 6.0, Windows Embedded Compact 7, and Windows Embedded Compact 13 has ended. This means you can’t raise tickets for assistance. Additionally, security patches are no longer available for Microsoft Windows CE 5.0 and Windows Embedded CE 6.0. While patches are available for Windows Embedded Compact 7 and Windows Embedded Compact 13, no further patches will be available from 13/04/21 and 10/10/23 respectively. To sum up, you can continue using these systems, but it isn’t a good idea. You will receive no support or upgrades, and security patches are either no longer available or will be phased out soon.

2. But my devices are working fine. Why should I migrate?

They may work right now, but as manufacturers run out of stock, it’s likely that parts, replacements and accessories won’t be available when devices need service or repairs. The situation will only get worse as time goes by. Look at it this way: when you are using legacy devices, the potential for disruption to your day-to-day operations grows year on year.

3. Are security breaches really a concern to my business?

Yes, this is a ‘clear and present’ danger. 98% of UK organisations surveyed by cybersecurity experts Carbon Black reported an increase in cyber attacks on their business in the last 12 months¹. Any business is a possible target, but devices running on legacy operating systems such as Windows CE are particularly vulnerable: they simply can’t withstand the complexity of today’s security threats.

Skull surrounded by code shows UK companies are reporting increases in cyberattacks, often caused by legacy operating systems
Outdated operating systems open your business to security breaches

4. What are the benefits of a Windows CE to Android migration?

This is a good question, because people often think only of the negatives – the inefficiencies of outdated systems and the threat of cyber attacks. But there are many, many positives. Customer expectations are growing– in this environment a fast, streamlined and easy-to-use new system will boost productivity and keep you competitive. Optimised devices are absolutely fundamental to keeping up with increasing demand, and produce a tangible return on investment.

5. Will migrating disrupt my everyday operations?

Probably far less than you think. Any disruption caused by migrating can be planned for and mitigated. You are in control of how fast you migrate and it can be achieved in an orderly, staged way. Conversely, unplanned disruptions as a result of using unsupported OS and mobile devices could be disastrous, posing far greater financial and reputational risk.

6. Will I have to retrain my workers?

Android is the world’s most popular OS for devices. Most of your team will be familiar with Android platforms already and so retraining will be a swift and fuss-free affair. Think of the benefits to employees too: providing them with modern technology on easy-to-use devices will take away common frustrations with technology and improve their working environment.

7. Will I need to reconfigure my backend systems?

This depends on how your mobile devices communicate with your backend systems. If you’re using a terminal emulation system, you may be able to modernise the user interface on your mobile devices while retaining the same backend systems. If you’re using a more modern client / server system then you should be able to switch out the mobile client as long as good

documentation is available for the backend systems. If in doubt, ask us for help and clarification.

8. How easy is it to upgrade our terminal emulation app to Android?

There are many terminal emulation client apps available for Android. They all provide slightly different feature sets, including the ability to build graphical user interfaces on top of your TE systems. However, while it may be easy to get the TE working on Android, bear in mind you will not be able to fully exploit the capabilities and speed of your Android devices.

9. Is it difficult for developers to create enterprise apps for Android devices?

Nuffield Technologies can build apps to your specifications, quickly and cost effectively. This is because we use a modular framework for building [line of business data capture applications]. This reduces the need for bespoke development work by up to two thirds and simplifies support. As CoreXam is based on Microsoft Xamarin, we can sometimes reuse significant portions of code from existing Windows CE applications. We’ll be more than happy to explain these details to you, so our process is completely clear.

10. How long will app development take?

Apps have traditionally taken 6-12 months to develop. However, our modular framework, CoreXam, enables us to develop your app within 1.5-3 months, depending on complexity. As migration can be achieved in a staged approach, it is down to you to decide how long you would like the migration process to take.

11. How much will migration cost?

This will depend on your exact requirements, such as the size of your device fleet, whether you need to buy new devices and what apps you need migrated. Our costs are scalable, meaning businesses with fewer devices will pay less, so it’s very likely we have a cost-effective solution for you.

Find out more about Windows CE to Android migration

For detailed insights into Windows CE to Android migration – and advice on how to begin the process for your business – download our white paper.

You can also visit our website for more on our services, or start a conversation by contacting us now.

Windows® CE to Android™ Migration: The Definitive Guide

Windows® CE to Android™ Migration: The Definitive Guide

If you’re using Windows CE or Windows Mobile for your business’s mobile devices, it’s absolutely essential you start planning a migration to a new operating system.

Discover why in our white paper – and find out how you can get started now.

Download the white paper now